In its first year, 1937, El Pomar granted to five organizations: the Fountain Valley School, Glockner Hospital, the Boys & Girls Club of The Pikes Peak Region, the Junior League of Colorado Springs (for the Nutrition Camp School), and the Penrose Community School. The grant to the community school in Penrose, Colorado offers an opportunity to explore the history of the town named for El Pomar Foundation’s founder.
Just north of downtown Colorado Springs, at 423 N Cascade Avenue, is the McAllister House—one of the three oldest houses in Colorado Springs and the only one that retains its original floor plan. On the National Register of Historic Places since 1973, the House is open to the public as a museum, offering insights into the rich history of Colorado Springs and the McAllisters’ role in the development of the region.
While it is well known that nonprofit grant making foundations like El Pomar maintain and grow their assets via financial investments, it is less well known that this means that foundations also pay a considerable sum in taxes each year. In fact, if the Internal Revenue Service were a grantee organization, it would be El Pomar’s sixth highest grantee to date.
Belief in the power of education and the promise of children have been central components of El Pomar Foundation giving from the beginning, and many of the Foundation’s early grants reflect the compassion Spencer and Julie Penrose had for the young. A grantee since 1952, the Laradon Hall Society for Exceptional Children and Adults was the first charitable organization in the Rocky Mountain region to offer innovative support for a particular group of Colorado’s children—those with developmental disabilities.
El Pomar Trustees have committed $1 million, $100,000 per year for 10 years, to underwrite the City of Colorado Springs’ operational expenses for a world class mountain biking facility.
Education was important to Spencer and Julie Penrose’s philanthropic efforts, and that is evident in the significant amount of scholarship funding the Foundation has provided throughout its history. Julie Penrose wanted to ensure deserving young men and women who wanted to go to college but could not afford it were provided an opportunity to continue their education. Originally, Mrs. Penrose conducted the interviews personally, granting to fund educations at institutions of higher education throughout the state.
The Pauline Chapel was built in 1919 by Spencer Penrose on behalf of his wife. Julie Penrose was a devout Catholic and her interest in charitable giving encouraged the couple to establish El Pomar Foundation as a means to give back to the communities of Colorado. With Mrs. Penrose’s passing in 1956, the Foundation entered a new stage, in which the stewardship of the Penrose legacy transferred from the Penrose’s to Trustees outside of the family.
Recently, the Central Peaks Regional Council hosted a Town Hall event which used live polling and breakout sessions to ask key community leaders for assistance in determining and prioritizing regional challenges and identify opportunities for philanthropic dollars to assist in addressing those issues.
Volkswagen plans to make its first appearance in 31 years when it returns to the annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
One of El Pomar’s five original grantees in 1937 was the Junior League of Colorado Springs for the operation of its “Nutrition Camp School,” which El Pomar continued to support for the next 20 years. Founded by Marjorie Palmer Watt, daughter of Colorado Springs founder William Jackson Palmer, the school provided education and care for neglected and malnourished children. Although the organization closed in 1964, it lives on today in the grant making of the Nutrition Camp School Foundation.
While the landscape of Costilla County is primarily barren desert, the region is also home to some of the richest historical sites in Colorado. San Luis is the oldest continuously-occupied town in the state and sites throughout the broader San Luis Valley speak to the historical influences of Spain, Mexico, the United States, and the Ute people. El Pomar Foundation made its first grant to the region in 1954.
Although Spencer Penrose made his original fortune mining copper, he is often better known for founding and operating the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. While Penrose’s involvement with the hospitality industry and charitable giving are two separate sides of his Penrose legacy, these passions were brought together in the Foundation’s grants to the Geneva National Home in Littleton, which served as a center for recuperation and retirement for hotel employees from around the country.
Julie Penrose’s faith was a well-known element of her life and philanthropic activity, and in 1952 El Pomar Foundation made seven grants to parishes throughout the Front Range. Among these were grants to Mount Carmel Church in Pueblo for the purchase of a school bus, to St. Mary’s Church in Colorado Springs for maintenance of the Hammond organ, and to Sacred Heart Church in Old Colorado City.
The Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region cares for thousands of lost, abandoned, abused and unwanted pets. An El Pomar grant recipient since 1951, HSPPR provides an important service to vulnerable and often neglected residents of our community.
Helping students make informed decisions through meaningful career conversations was the cornerstone mission of an eighth-grade career fair at Morgan County Fairgrounds.